Theatre & Musicals
Follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Southbank this summer for The Wizard of Oz or sing along to High School Musical. Like theatre? Get involved at Kids’ Week when the West End invites children backstage and kids get to go to the theatre for free.
30th September 2007 - 4th April 2009
John Waters' marvellously mad 1960s coming-of-age tale has been brought to the stage in a production that is fresh, funny and a vast improvement on the recent John Travolta movie based on the same script. 'Hairspray' is the tale of an unfashionably large girl who finds fame and romance on a TV talent show, and manages to take on racial segregation while doing so. The mixture of ironic tackiness and ecstatically enthusiastic dance routines make it almost impossible not to leave the theatre with a huge grin on your face, while the occasional appearance of the nastier satirical moments from the film gives a genuine edge to this shamelessly sentimental story. Huge beehive hairdos, enormous actors and a vast sense of fun all add up to a sparkling musical that more than deserves its many awards.
30th June 2008 - 9th August 2008
Letitia Dean (Sharon from 'EastEnders') stars as Ms Darbus in Disney's 'High School Musical' at Hammersmith Apollo. Following the phenomenal success of the film 'High School Musical', it was only a matter of time before the live on-stage version came to the UK. Like 'Footloose' in our day, it appeals to the budding star just itching to get out in every young girl. It's enough to make them want to go to drama school or maybe just high school in America. Expect a whirlwind of funky moves, twirling figures and impressive group choreography. While the film has been described as a modern day 'Grease' or 'West Side Story', this show is pure spectacle - all-singing, all-dancing and a chance for 'High School Musical' fans and their long-suffering parents to bop and sing-a-long to all the much-loved tunes.
8th July - 2nd August 2008
This is the 76th season for the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park, and as the summers get hotter, they're more popular than ever. As always, the biggest draw is their magical production of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' which, this year, presents a new production 're-imagined' (i.e. shortened to 75 minutes, with some of the difficult words cut out) for a young audience aged six and over. Shakespeare's tale of lost lovers, incompetent actors and mischievous fairies is perfectly suited to the fairy lights and garden setting of the Open Air Theatre. No wonder they stage it here every year. This though is the first time the enchanted realms of Oberon and Tatiana have been created just for kids. Go to www.openairtheatre.org/competition, draw a picture of Puck and enter the competition to win a family ticket to London Zoo.
9th July 2008 - 16th August 2008
Fresh from their well-received show 'An Infinite Line' at the Brighton Festival, Fevered Sleep bring their brand new show, 'Brilliant', to the Polka Theatre. Set at bedtime when the lights are turned out, the moon and stars shine brightly. With live music, movement and clever lighting, the show really does live up to its name. Like the Brighton production, 'Brilliant' is all about light. Both shows are the result of Fevered Sleep's Artistic Director David Harradine's three-year research project about light, photography and performance. But 'Brilliant' is very specifically for children between 3 and 4 years - the show has been tested on children of various ages and the restriction is strictly applied.
12th July 2008
The theme for this year's free Summer Party at the Lyric Hammersmith is the humble handkerchief. Comedian John Hegley hosts the day's Hanky Party with plenty of activities for families to get involved in, including poems, puppets and messy play. There's outdoor music, circus and street theatre in Lyric Square and appearances from Tall Stories ('The Gruffalo', 'The Snow Dragon' and 'Monster Hits'), Lyngo ('Circus Minimus'), and Cartoon de Salvo ('The Ratcatcher of Hamlin', 'Hard Hearted Hannah and Other Stories'). Music is provided by Hegley's band The Popticians, Andrew Bailey and Randolph the Remarkable. It's set to be a fun-packed day with performances by some of London's best theatre companies. Tickets are free and available from 9.30am on the day.
19th July 2008 - 26th July 2008
The floating puppet barge moves from its permanent home in Little Venice to Henley Bridge for July before dropping anchor at Higginsons Park in Marlow for August. Throughout July, the story of 'The Flight of Babuscha Baboon', a baboon whose ambition is to fly to the moon in a hot air balloon, is the entertainment for children aged three to ten. On 26th July, the last date the barge is still moored at its Henley Bridge location, the billing changes to 'Footprints in the Wilderness'. This new production is based on the life of the man who saved the white rhino and his friendship with his Zulu mentor. The Puppet Barge is famous for its traditional wooden marionette puppets, and always focuses on tales with a moral to them, brought to life through expert animation.
23rd July 2008 - 31st August 2008
Dorothy, Toto, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, flying monkeys, witches, a wonderful wizard, brains, courage, a heart and a ride in a balloon all arrive in London this summer for the Southbank Centre's annual theatrical extravaganza. It's two decades since London hosted a stage production of this best of all movie musicals, and there are thousands of children in the capital who know 'Wicked!' better than 'The Wizard of Oz' so this is a good chance to introduce them to the original classic. A fine cast includes Sian Brooke donning the ruby slippers, dance superstar Adam Cooper as the Tin Man, and Roy Hudd as the Wizard. The superb sightlines and acoustic at the restored Royal Festival Hall mean that the audience will get to enjoy every word, and every step, of some of the greatest song-and-dance routines ever devised.
24th July 2008 - 1st August 2008
Remember how Tinkerbell comes back to life at the end of 'Peter Pan'? The audience repeats "we believe in fairies". That's the premise of this play which is set on a magical Midsummer's Night - the night when the fairy world and the human world collide. As banshees and businessmen come together the fairies' tale is revealed with some hilarious results. The Chicken Shed have earned a reputation for consistently delivering innovative and inspiring shows, accessible to all, using puppet action, live music and entertaining physical theatre.
27th July 2008
The Proms' family concert is a great way to get kids into classical music. This year's show at the Royal Albert Hall has a 'Doctor Who' theme, featuring music from the BBC's popular TV series and a selection of classical favourites. There's even a specially filmed scene, written by Russell T Davies and starring David Tennant. Join Freema Agyeman (aka Martha Jones), and others from the 'Doctor Who' cast, for an intergalactic musical adventure - with Daleks, Cybermen and other aliens from the series.
Murray Gold: Music from the 'Doctor Who' series (40 mins)
Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man (3 mins)
Holst: The Planets - Jupiter (8 mins)
Mark: Anthony Turnage - The Torino Scale (UK premiere) (4 mins)
Wagner: Die Walküre - The Ride of the Valkyries (5 mins)
15th - 29th August 2008
It's now a decade since the excellent idea of Kids' Week was first conjured up. A truly inspired summer treat for families, Theatreland is available for free to excitable tots and teens for two action-packed weeks in August. Children aged 5-16 years can see an awesome selection of dazzling West End hits gratis - as long as an adult pays the full price. Tickets for the most popular shows go fast, so it's best not to make any promises until you've booked. Aside from the shows themselves, there's a whole raft of free children's activities. Kids can peek backstage, participate in workshops, dabble with make-up, learn to dance, scribble a few lines in writing classes and even sing with the cast. And the freebies don't stop there, children can also eat at a number of kid-friendly restaurants for free. See www.kidsweek.co.uk for full details. It's a fantastic initiative and one which can only inspire kids' enthusiasm for the stage in later life.
Summer in London for Kids 2008
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Summer is when the city’s parks, farms and green spaces really come alive. As well as roller blading in Hyde Park and pedalos at A...Great Outdoors